What is Furniture Leveling?

Unless you are in the A&D (Architectural and Interior Design) industry, you may think furniture leveling has to do with the adjustable pads on the bottom of your table’s feet. However, in the corporate furniture & office design world, furniture leveling presents all furniture choices equally. As a result, clients can easily understand how each piece and supplier compares so the client can choose the best option to meet their needs best.

Selecting and comparing Office Furniture

During the traditional furniture selection process, suppliers will give a prospect a good | better | best furniture scenario to help them decide between appearance, functionality, and costs. But, in reality, finding the right piece of furniture to fit your exact needs can be a time-consuming process with a steep learning curve to discover all the nuances of today’s corporate furniture.

For example, workplaces have become more complex and demand more flexible furnishings, such as open, flexible floor plans, office pods, soft architecture, and desk hoteling replacing private offices and cubicles. With these new product concepts, inconsistency among product lines becomes a challenge. Additionally, there is growing popularity in ancillary products and the incorporation of technology and power access. While an RFP may attempt to capture the business’s requirements for furniture’s functional, aesthetic, and technical features, there’s often much more to consider than just price or product presentation.

Furniture Bid Leveling

When specifying and evaluating furniture for your business, often brand names, the lowest cost vendor or the one recommended by an industry contact seems like an easier choice than evaluating all the options yourself. However, furniture affects how a person will experience a space and will influence whether or not his or her impression of the space is positive or negative. Your selection of furniture will affect employee morale, the business brand, and overall company performance, so it shouldn’t be made hastily. Especially with today’s flexible requirements of furniture, considering your business’s needs for today’s, as well as tomorrow’s workforce, is very important.

Ideally, you should consider three sources for each type of furniture to ensure you are getting the best value and performance. Because product lines and manufacturers will promote where they excel and hide areas they are lacking, it is difficult to get an apples-to-apples comparison from their literature or proposals.  When collecting information on the three options, the bids must be “leveled”.

Leveling is the process of taking each response and organizing all of the information for the decision-makers to view and easily understand. Leveling will identify any discrepancies between the bids, establish a high and low price, and compare the overall experience of each firm.

Leveling the offers makes it easier to decide which product is best for your project. Rather than sorting through four or five proposals separately, decision-makers can view one matrix that displays all responses side-by-side.

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The Benefits of Bid Leveling

Typically, the bid leveling process can save clients 8-10% of the bottom-line cost. The RFP and leveling process significantly improves the likelihood of the project staying on time and within budget. However, this process requires time, due diligence, and experience with each furniture category and manufacturer. It may be too time intensive a project for someone who’s main role is not facilities and furniture management

Alternatives to Furniture Bid Leveling

Many companies have started to move away from directly managing the bid comparison method, electing to partner with a workspace expert early in the design process as a furniture consultant. The workspace expert has daily involvement with furniture manufacturers so can select and compare products quicker and in more depth than many people whose primary function is not furniture evaluation.

In most reconfigurations or relocations, the construction of the office is going to be your largest expense. Your second largest expense is going to be furnishing the space. Since this could be a massive project and expense, would it make sense to have a professional work with you?

Often times, any costs you incur in hiring a professional will be offset by the savings found through the competitive bid, and you will achieve a better result. The benefit you have in hiring someone early on in the project, is that they become intimately familiar with your needs and know all the details for why decisions were made and the goals that were set forth. 

We always recommend that the client be integrally involved in the selection of the furniture and make an effort to understand the specific reasons why one option may be better for them than another. The best way to really understand the options is to take a trip to a showroom with your consultant. Most times, a variety of furniture styles and quality levels can be discussed at the same place. 

Optimal results start with a conversation to work through any questions and determine your specific needs. A Furniture Consultancy creates a process that works for you and your particular goals, allowing all the pieces to come together on time and within budget. With our 45+ years of experience and knowledge of over 200 lines of furniture, Jefferson Group is the furniture consultant of choice for many companies.  Let’s have an initial discussion to see how we can help your business.